EFCC returns Kogi’s hidden N19.3bn to CBN

…stop misleading Nigerians – Kogi govt tells EFCC

The Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has returned the N19.3 billion bailout funds reportedly hidden by the Kogi State Government to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The commission had earlier announced that the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello stashed the money in a bank account.

Kogi state government had denied hiding the money, accusing EFCC of mischief.

But in a statement on Friday, Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman of the commission, said the money had been transferred to the apex bank.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has acknowledged the receipt of the sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 (Nineteen Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Naira, Thirty-six Kobo) recovered the EFCC from the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc. This effectively puts to rest the campaign of misinformation and unconscionable denials by the Kogi State Government that no fund was recovered from its bail out account.”

“The apex bank in a letter referenced, DFD/DIR/CON/EXT/01/099 and dated 9th November, 2021 informed the Executive Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa that it has received the money.

“The letter reads in part: “We refer to your letter dated November 5, 2021 with Ref. No: CR:3000/EFCC/LS/CMU/REC-STE/VOL.4/047 on the above subject and wish to confirm the details of the receipt of the amount as stated below: Bank: Sterling Bank Plc; Amount:  N19, 333, 333,333.36; Date of receipt: 04 November, 2021”

“The return of the money to the apex bank  is in compliance with the October 15, 2021 Order of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi Lagos directing the unfreezing of the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account to enable Sterling Bank to remit the balance in the account to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke gave the Order pursuant to an application filed by the EFCC.

“The Commission had told the court that the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where the account was domiciled had acknowledged the existence of the said account with the staggering sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 in its books.

“The Commission further brought to the attention of the court that “The sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 is still standing in the credit of the account frozen”, adding that “the management of Sterling Bank PIc, has, pursuant to a letter dated 15 September, 2021, signed by its Managing Director, indicated intention to return the total sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

“The transfer has put paid to any further controversy regarding source and ownership of the funds and most importantly, aborted the funds dissipation.
On August 31, 2021, Justice Tijani Garba Ringim, a vacation Judge, had ordered the freezing of the account, following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC.”

 

Meanwhile, the Kogi State Government has reacted to the statement of the EFCC that it returned N19.3 billion bailout funds reportedly hidden by the State Government to the CBN.

In a statement by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission had said it transferred the said money to the apex bank.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has acknowledged the receipt of the sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 (Nineteen Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Naira, Thirty-six Kobo) recovered the EFCC from the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc. This effectively puts to rest the campaign of misinformation and unconscionable denials by the Kogi State Government that no fund was recovered from its bail out account,” Uwujaren said.

But the Kogi State Government which has consistently denied hiding any money in any bank accused the EFCC of an attempt “to desperately wriggle out of a bad case with another mischief aimed, again, at misleading Nigerians.”

It vowed that it would take legal action to maintain the “innocence and transparency” of the government.

It said the EFCC had finally exposed the fact that it had been pursuing a political agenda all along.

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